Catherine Sharkey, ‘Tort as Backstop to Regulation in the Face of Uncertainty’

Thomas Merrill & David Schizer, The Shale Oil and Gas Revolution, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Water Contamination: A Regulatory Strategy, Columbia Law and Economics Working Paper No. 440 (2013). Thomas Merril and David Schizer — a property law theorist and tax law expert — deliver an ostensibly new framework for analyzing tort liability-regulation tradeoffs, standing on the shoulders of the pioneer in this area in the 1980s, Steven Shavell. In The Shale Oil and Gas Revolution, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Water Contamination: A Regulatory Strategy, Merrill and Schizer offer a fairly modest strategy for regulating water contamination from hydraulic fracturing (also commonly known as ‘fracking’), a practice that is ‘transforming the energy landscape of the United States’. But their proposals lay the groundwork for a more ambitious project: to reassess the balance between tort liability and regulation in areas that pose emerging, and incompletely understood, health and safety risks …” (more)

[Catherine Sharkey, JOTWELL, 26 November]

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